Creighton tops Nebraska for 10th time in 11 meetings; Huskers guard McGowens suffers broken foot


LINCOLN, Neb. — The Creighton men’s basketball team extended its era of dominance over intrastate rival Nebraska, taking the 10th game in the last 11 meetings, with a 77-69 win on Tuesday, November 16 at sold out Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The victory pushed Creighton to 3-0 on the season, while the Huskers fell to 1-2.

With Creighton holding a 68-62 lead with 3:40 remaining in the game, Bluejay senior Ryan Hawkins sent the fans heading for the exits with a pair of three-pointers, pushing Creighton’s lead out to 74-62 with 1:29 left. The difference in the second half was three-point shooting as Creighton went 6-of-12 (50.0%) in the final 20 minutes, while Nebraska was 2-for-11 (18.2%)

Down 5-1 in the opening moments, the Bluejays turned the early deficit around quickly with a 13-0 run. Senior Alex O’Connell fueled the Bluejay surge with nine of his 15 points, including a pair of treys, to give Creighton a 14-5 advantage with 15:09 remaining. Up 16-10 moments later the Bluejays delivered another bakers dozen to extend the lead to 29-10 (9:20). Freshman Ryan Nembhard provided the spark this time with a traditional three-point play, followed by a pair from long range. O’Connell and returning junior Shereef Mitchell capped the Bluejays’ run with mid-range jumpers.

Creighton held a 33-15 edge with 8:01 remaining in the opening stanza, but the final eight minutes belonged to the Huskers as Nebraska pulled within one at 37-36 before three free-throws by Nembhard in the final minute sent CU to the locker room at the half with a 40-36 lead.

The two teams traded layups early in the second half, but Nebraska got the better of the exchange to melt the Creighton lead to one at 44-43 with 16:25 to play. The Bluejays began to find their range trifectas from freshman Trey Alexander, Nembhard and Hawkins pushed the Bluejays advantage out to 55-47 with 10:49 remaining.

The rivals traded body blows over the next seven minutes, yet Creighton held a 68-62 lead heading into the final four minutes.

Nembhard led all scorers with 22 points, while Hawkins delivered his second double-double in three games at 15 points and 10 rebounds. O’Connell and sophomore Ryan Kalkbrenner rounded out the Bluejays in double-figures with 13 and 12 points respectively.

The Bluejays take flight toward the U.S. Virgin Islands as Creighton takes part in the Paradise Jam. The Bluejays first round opponent is Brown on Friday, November 19, with tip off set for 2:15 pm (CT). The game can be found online via ESPN3.

NOTES: Ryan Nembhard had 12 of Creighton’s first 25 points to reach double-figures for the third straight game to start his career … After scoring 7+ points in just three of 24 games played a year ago, Alex O’Connell had his third straight game in double-figures on Tuesday … Creighton made a three-pointer for the 916th straight game, the nation’s 14th-longest active streak … The Bluejays have also made a trifecta before halftime in 287 straight games … Creighton has led at halftime in 19 of the last 23 regular-season meetings vs. Nebraska, including 40-36 tonight … Ryan Nembhard became Creighton’s first player with 20+ points in his first game vs. Nebraska since Terrell Taylor had 21 points vs. NU on Dec. 9, 1999 … Ryan Kalkbrenner’s 9 rebounds were a career high for the sophomore, eclipsing his previous best of 8 last season against the Cornhuskers … Creighton improved to 3-0 for the ninth time in 12 seasons under Greg McDermott … Teams with Ryan Hawkins are now 162-8 at the college level … Creighton now owns a 29-26 advantage in the all-time series vs. Nebraska and has won 19 of the past 23 regular-season meetings against the Cornhuskers … Creighton became the first non-conference team to beat Nebraska three times inside Pinnacle Bank Arena … Greg McDermott is now 16-4 all-time against Nebraska (10-2 as Creighton coach) and 3-1 in head-to-head meetings vs. Fred Hoiberg … McDermott’s 10 wins vs. Nebraska tie him with Dana Altman for the most in program history against the Cornhuskers … Creighton is now 16-4 in its last 20 games vs. Big Ten teams, including 13 double-digit victories … Creighton is now 3-3 all-time in the Gavitt Tipoff Games … The BIG EAST now leads the 2021 edition of the Gavitt Tipoff Games 3-0, including wins last night by Marquette (vs. Illinois) and by Providence (at Wisconsin).

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